How can a Chaplain serve in times of crisis?

In a country largely divided by spiritual differences, Chaplains work hard to build bridges and maintain healthy and beneficial relationships between secular and religious sectors of society to help hurting people. Chaplaincy is sanctioned by the United States government with full provision by law to provide crisis care to citizens regardless of race, creed, or religious affiliation. While most Chaplains consider themselves Christians, professional licensed chaplains deeply respect all faith traditions.

  • To support and serve with spiritual, emotional, mental, and practical services.
  • To support and services through training, counseling, advocacy, victim crisis response, and a ministry of presence.
  • To support and serve law enforcement, government agencies, community resource agencies, businesses, non-profit and faith-based organizations to fill gaps in available services.
  • To stand ready to be mobilized quickly and efficiently in a crisis.

The Lemon Test

“A chaplain’s greatest gift to the department is to be present and just listen to the law enforcement professionals he or she serves.” 

– Trish Propson

“The greatest gift you can give is your time. People need your presence. The way you can help a soul the most is to simply be there.”

– Richelle Goodrich

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

– Aesop

“You were the only one that could get through the barriers to reach us. Thank you for being on-hand during our darkest hour.”

– Accident Victim

“Every time we turned around you were just there. We barely talked to you but just knowing you were there if we needed you mattered more than you know.” 

– Parents of suicide victim

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The Lemon Test

Chaplaincy is protected under the Lemon vs. Kurtzman ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States of America. It is considered a necessary function of government to care for the holistic mind, body, and spirit of its citizenry. Chaplaincy is not a function that forms religion; therefore, it is protected under this law. The Lemon test was formulated by Chief Justice Warren Burger. The court in Lemon v. Kurtzman ruled three requirements for government concerning religion, they are:

1. The government’s action must have a secular legislative purpose. (Such as a Chaplain providing crisis response or humanitarian aid for mind, body, and spirit during times of crisis.)

2. The government’s action must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion. (Such as a Chaplain providing aid to people of all faith backgrounds and refusing to solicit members for a specific religion or faith organization.)

3. The government’s action must not result in an “excessive government entanglement” with religion. (Such as a Chaplain providing temporary crisis response services to people in need of humanitarian aid for mind, body, and spirit outside the confines of a church or faith organization.)

Did you know that there were full time paid Chaplains appointed to the very first Continental Congress in 1737? Chaplains have faithfully served the federal government, all branches of the military, and both houses of congress for over 280 years.